Post-Game Grades: Pacers Play Entitled, Get Overmatched by Pistons
The Pacers apparently didn’t read the scouting report tonight. I wasn’t in the locker room or anything, but I’m guessing the fact that Detroit has Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe came up. Also, I bet Frank Vogel informed his squad that the Pistons are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA.
What did Indiana do with this information?
They went out in the first half and allowed the Pistons to gather up 14 offensive rebounds on 29 missed field goals. That’s not cool. There were some strange bounces on errant attempts by the Pistons, but there were plenty of other misses that should have been grabbed by Pacers’ players — who were a step slow or slow to anticipate angles for most of the evening.
Other things happened in the game — Josh Smith put a damper on some decent defense early in the third and generally just made some good shots all night. And some fans will certainly point to a controversial inbounds play that happened just as
the Pacers Lance Stephenson mounted a last-ditch comeback effort. The Pistons took too long to throw it in, probably upwards of 6 seconds instead of the legally allowable 5. But that’s not exactly the most essential rule in this sport, and when you play that poorly for that long, you’re not going to be able to expect every call to go your way.
So thems the breaks, and it certainly had less to do with the loss than, say, the 3-for-17 shooting Indiana’s starting front court managed in the first half. Or the 12 points in the paint the entire team put up in that half. Or the 5 offensive boards they let Josh Harrelson get in that same half. Or the fact that had new-rotation-member Rasual Butler not hit two threes in that same half the team would have been down by 13 heading into the break.
Indiana play better over the final 24 minutes, shooting 50.0% from the field and keeping Detroit from feasting on second-chance points. Their marquee players still couldn’t put points up efficiently, however, and Paul George forced a few threes that didn’t help his team’s chances.
None of it was enough to overcome the first-half blahs.
You don’t want to diminish the effort, good play and talent of these Pistons. They nearly beat the Trail Blazers last night, and they are just a skilled bunch. They can beat any team on any night, despite what might be suggested by their middling record and all the jokes about the East teams other than Indiana and Miami.
Still, Indiana just had two days off. (And, really, we can probably call it closer to five; they beat Miami last Tuesday and barely broke a sweat in their similarly lackluster effort against Charlotte on Friday.) There really isn’t much excuse to play that sluggishly in a first half against a team that suffered an emotional loss last night.
It’s just one game. No big deal. 20-4 and 21-3 aren’t significantly different.
But this is now two games in a row in which Indiana has sleepwalked through the bulk of the game. The Bobcats are ability-challenged enough that the Pacers were able to refocus late and come away with a win. The Pistons are not.
I doubt this becomes some lasting mentality, but they have played the past two games like they expected to win. They played with the urgency I would expect from an entitled bunch who has been buying into their own power ranking position and believing that the East has nobody but Miami that is for real.
Again, I doubt this is anything but a blip in the schedule — if it is even what has been the cause of the past two games’ worth of mediocre play. But it’s probably for the best that they face Miami again on Wednesday, so they can again head into a game on a mission — you know, the way they looked almost every night in November, no matter what jerseys the opponents were wearing.
UPDATE: There is also this.
The Pacers are now 0-4 when giving up more than 100 points. They are 20-0 and when giving up 100 or less.
— Jared Wade (@8pts9secs) December 17, 2013
|David West, PF 28 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -7
Missed a bunch of shots in the fourth that you expect to go down. Obviously was a main culprit in the defensive rebounding woes.
|Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 4-14 FG | 8-8 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | -6
Yowzers. Two straight games for Pauly Infallible. Forced some shots. Did his share of rebounding at least.
|Roy Hibbert, C 35 MIN | 2-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | 0
Worst game of the seasons statistically, I would have to guess. Treated the glass like someone who is afraid of glass, a glassaphobe, perhaps, they are called, he writes using all the effort on this simile that Indiana showed tonight on the boards. Got elbowed in the mouth and bled from his teeth so you have to at least feel for the big guy on that one. Ouch.
|George Hill, PG 32 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -2
Wasn’t aware he suited up for this one.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 40 MIN | 9-14 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | -6
Regular season career high in points and was the main cog of the offense in the third when he was making shots, dunking the ball, yelling at the crowd and getting layups for others. Regular ball of energy.
|Luis Scola, PF 20 MIN | 8-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +2
Scored the first 10 points for Indiana in the fourth quarter. His jumper was really the only reason this stayed close. More rebounds would have helped but at least he got his mistakes back on the other end.
|Ian Mahinmi, C 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3
What would you say you *do* here?
|C.J. Watson, PG 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3
Hit a few shots, did some dribbling, made some passes and stuff.
|Rasual Butler, SG 14 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1
Another adequate effort from a guy who just (temporarily) joined the rotation.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 4 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Another inadequate effort from a guy who just (seemingly) continued his slide out of the rotation.